Yeah there’s (at least) one more
The Blue Jays have been fortunate to have the AL Player of the Week on their team for the past three straight weeks. First George Springer took home the honour for consecutive weeks, and then it was Teoscar Hernandez who paced the American League in offensive production and won the award most recently.
The Jays have been receiving a tremendous bargain when it comes to Hernandez’s services over the last two seasons, as he’s being paid just $4.325 million in 2021. He’ll be due to receive a significant raise when he goes to arbitration for the second time this winter, and likely again a season later when he has his third and final trip. I’m sure the Blue Jays will be more than happy to pay that rate to retain him for the next two seasons, but for a player that’s just 28 years old and is still improving, a longer extension could be on the table.
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My colleague Tyson Shushkewich wrote just yesterday about the idea of extending Hernandez, and it makes a lot of sense for the Blue Jays to explore the idea. He was a Silver Slugger award winner in 2020, an All-Star in this season, and he’s collected 20 home runs and 81 RBI despite only playing 98 games this season. Like Bichette, he’s often overshadowed by the presence of others like Vlad Jr., Springer, and even Semien, but there’s no denying that he’s producing at an elite rate. Just as impressive as his power numbers, his slash line of .313/.355/.526 shows that he’s been a very complete hitter.
When you add the fact that Hernandez has become a more reliable outfielder, at least compared to the adventures we witnessed earlier in his career, and there are a lot of reasons for the Blue Jays to want to keep him as part of the core of this team for the long haul. He’s also part of a tightly knit group on the bench along with Vlad Jr., Lourdes Gurriel Jr., and others as well, and building that clubhouse culture is a big plus to go along with his performance.
As you can see, the Blue Jays are going to have a lot of difficult decisions to make over the next few years. I’ve said it a few times, but I’ll repeat it once more that they won’t be any to keep everyone and still have the budget space to add in other important areas of need, like the bullpen for instance. That said, I’m sure Ross Atkins and the front office will try to keep as many of their current stars as they can, and it’ll be an interesting situation to watch play out.